Christmas DIYs

Advent Calendar DIY

advent calendar diy

As promised, here is my step by step guide to how I created this year’s Advent Calendar DIY for my husband. He always appreciates handmade gifts, so I know he will love it! I made each number different using bits of material, card, cork and basically anything that contrasted in with my rustic non-girly natural theme. As a challenge, I wanted this project to be 100% up-cycled, costing nothing to make while making good use of old things. Can’t wait to fill it with goodies!

Here’s how I made my Advent Calendar DIY…


  • Paper cups
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Cocktail sticks
  • White paint
  • Hessian
  • Twine
  • String
  • Brown card
  • Mini canvases
  • Printed card
  • Used postage envelopes (for the numbers)
  • Buttons
  • Cork
  • White paper
  • Tree branch
  • Plastic bottle with lid
  • Matchboxes


  • Paintbrush
  • Craft knife
  • Black pen
  • Black ink pad
  • Letter stamps
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • PVA glue
  • Reindeer stamp
  • Plastic tube (for stamping)
  • Gold pen
  • Rule
  • Sponge
  • Needle & Thread

Let’s make an Advent Calendar DIY!

To make the Buckets:

  1. Start by marking a paper cup 5cm up from the bottom, then cut off the rest.
advent calendar diy

2. Take some lollipop sticks and measure 5 and a half centimetres up from each end…mark with a pen. Carefully cut along the marked lines using a craft knife. You will have two separate sticks from each lollipop, leaving a little left over from the centre.

advent calendar diy

3. Brush PVA glue on to the cup and then carefully add the sticks on going all the way around. Make sure the rounded end of the stick is pointing upwards and the cut end lined up with the bottom of the cup. The extra half a centimetre difference between the cup height and the stick height means you don’t see the top edge of the paper cup, just the nice rounded stick tops. Its easier to do this in sections to give the glue time to stick. Don’t worry if your sticks overlap at the last one …it’s better than leaving a gap… and it’s rustic looking anyway!

Tip: Put elastic bands around the cup to hold the sticks on while drying.

advent calendar diy
advent calendar diy

4. Remove the bands then paint the sticks with white paint.

5. Glue a strip of hessian around the base to hide the rough edge of the sticks.

6. Cut the rim off the remaining bit cup, then staple it into the bucket to make the handle.

7. Finally, use number stamps to stamp on a number in black ink.

The other bucket was created much the same apart from cocktail sticks were used instead of lollipop sticks and brown card used for the number and handle.

advent calendar diy

For the Mini Briefcase:

  1. Wrap printed card around each mini canvas, leaving the back open, then staple onto the frame.

Tip: If you don’t have mini canvases, you could use sardine tins or any two containers with an open side and recess, with space to put a treat inside.

advent calendar diy

2. For the next stage, cut out a little strip of the printed card and glue it on the top of the briefcase to create a hinge.

3. Cut out a strip of brown card, bend it, then glue down the ends on the top of the case to make the handle.

4. Finally cut out a number from a postage label and glue it to the corner of the briefcase.

advent calendar diy

To make the Envelopes:

  1. Cut a sheet of white A4 paper in half, lengthways.
  2. Bring the two ends together and fold in half. Open back out.
  3. Fold one end a third of the way up to the centre fold, then fold that section one third down from the top end.
  4. Fold the remaining top third section over to create an envelope.
  5. Glue the sides of the envelope together.
  6. Use a gold pen to draw in some numbers.

(You will find my video tutorial link at the bottom of this post).

advent calendar diy
advent calendar diy
advent calendar

For the other Envelopes and Tags:

  1. To make the other envelopes, play around with different variations of the above and decorate in natural colours. Use the end of a glitter tube as a stamp to create vintage looking spots. Stick bits of cork and buttons on to look like straps, and cut-out postage envelope numbers to glue on.
  2. Cut a tag shape out of cork, then write its number on in pen.
  3. For the other tag, use PVA glue to stick hessian onto some card and leave to dry. Cut out a tag shape, then stencil a number on made using the card.
  4. Draw a large number onto the cork, then cut it out using a craft knife or scissors.
advent calendar diy

For the Boxes and Bottle:

  1. Wrap matchboxes in brown and white paper making sure to wrap the two parts of the matchbox separately so it can be easily opened.
  2. Decorate the boxes with twine, string and hessian and stamp on decorations.
  3. Wrap twine around the lid of a bottle and use this to hang it with.
advent calendar diy

For the Hessian Sack:

Cut a strip of hessian about 15 inches long and 4 inches wide. Fold it in half lengthways, then loosely sew big stitches up both sides leaving the top end open. Sew a separate stitch across the sack around three-quarters of the way up and repeat going in the opposite direction leaving a length of thread on either side. Pull the threads in, making it look like a sack. Cut a number out of the card, position it on the sack, then sponge paint over it creating a stencilled effect.

advent calendar diy

Finally, you’re ready to hang your numbers…

For this final stage, find a nice piece of tree branch and hang it on the wall using twine tied to each end. One by one tie on each numbered package using string and twine. Use a little peg or clip to attach the envelopes. Display them so a bit of each can be seen.

And that’s it! All finished.

This Advent Calendar DIY project took me a few days to make, but not only does it fit in with my room decor perfectly, It has also created a real talking point!

Happy Christmas Crafting!

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advent calendar diy